Friday 18 July 2014

Steel City?

I love it when the Americans try and ape the Brits. Almost without fail they fall flat on their arse/ass; though there are notable exceptions. Mike Myers totally gets it: as well as being an uproarious comedy trilogy, the Austin Powers movies provided a great vehicle to show off his band's love affair with England. You don't believe me? Listen to Ming Tea's 'Daddy Wasn't There' or 'Do the BBC'.

Next up would have to be Gwyneth Paltrow. Long before she made a tit of herself at The Oscars and became a Coldplay groupie, Paltrow made a charming little film called Sliding Doors. Her portrayal of a young London temp straddling two parallel universes was so convincing I really thought she was one of us.

But for every Mike Myers there's always a Dick Van Dyke lurking round the film lot. Last night I watched the first 30 minutes of The Def Leppard Story. It's an American made for TV biopic that charts the rise of South Yorkshire's most enduring musical exports, Joe Cocker notwithstanding.

It starts with a car chase (well it would, wouldn't it?) depicting their drummer's last tear-up on the A57 before he parted company with his left arm. The stretch of road where it all happened, the infamous Snake Pass, looks like it was shot in The Rockies. The film's budget obviously didn't stretch to coming over to blighty.

Now, I know that nobody in their right mind would want to sit and watch the film, the whole film and nothing but the film - however, I do urge you to watch the opening ten minutes. Apart from the above mentioned car chase you get shots of 'Sheffield' circa 1978. And when I say Sheffield, I really mean Montreal. That's right, in his wisdom, the Director decided that the town known commonly as Steel City should be twinned with a Canadian outpost it shares no geographical links with whatsoever. So watch out for the Dickensian fruit and veg vendor selling his wares outside the factory gates, the rows of 'terraced houses' and the assortment of passing 'classic' cars. It certainly takes your mind off the dreadful dialogue that passes for a script*.

* The actor playing Joe Elliott says at one point he'd chew his own gonads off if it meant leaving Sheffield. Nuff said.


  1. Why, why, why? I'm not sure of the appropriate reaction here. Laugh? Cry? Barf? Truly gruesome stuff.
    In the late 90's I went to an off, off, off, off Broadway production in New York. The play was a dramatisation of Ian Curtis's life, a dozen years before 'Control'. It was utterly awful. The actors each played more than one part, so characters kept disappearing to the pub to have some 'pints of ale', for some reason things were constantly being described as 'bollacks' in hopeless 'cor blimey guvnor' accents and the dummy legs purporting to be the hanging torso of Curtis dropped through the scenery while the actor playing him was still on stage. I should really write a post on the whole sorry business.

  2. God Almighty.

    There is probably a good film to be made about the role of industrial cities in establishing Heavy Rock & Metal. Birmingham obviously for Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, while Detroit and Cleveland were the cities that boosted Kiss and Rush, respectively. Metal has always been blue collar, which is surely one reason why the critics are sniffy about it.

    I still don't like Def Leppard, mind.